Star Cinema’s Unexpectedly Yours aims to rekindle the past magic and box-office glory of the Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla pairing as seen in the 1991 iconic hit movie Maging Sino Ka Man.
Back then, Sharon and Robin were in their 20s. Their youth, charisma, Robin’s sexily rebellious edginess, and Sharon’s sweetly elegant wholesomeness produced a pairing that broke box-office records. Their first movie together was immensely popular that it cut across all ages, gender and demographic. Men wanted to be like Robin, women aspired to be Sharon. Their first pairing also lead to a real-life whirlwind romance that further fanned the flame of Sharon’s fame and Robin’s infamy. Naturally, it also helped make Maging Sino Ka Man more memorable.
Flash forward to 2017 in this Cathy Garcia-Molina film where Robin Padilla is still unexpectedly dashing and debonair as he was 26 years ago; and Sharon Cuneta is still as charming and engaging.
In the movie, the Megastar is also more vulnerable as 50-year-old Patty who works as an award-winning Marketing head whose age and sensibility no longer fit with the demands of her work.
She is also struggling when it comes to her personal life. Her teen daughter (Julia Barretto) hates her, her mother (Pilar Pilapil) is controlling her, and her ex-husband (John Estrada) replaced her with a new woman.
Robin, too, has mellowed. The bad boy is now a “Tito” or specifically Uncle Cocoy to the character of Joseph Garcia. Cocoy is a seaman with a lifelong crush on his high school classmate Patty.
The two unexpectedly meet, unexpectedly fall in love, and expectedly end up with each other.
Never mind the contrived coincidences that allow Sharon and Robin’s character to unexpectedly meet in a random hotel room, and then again in a middle class subdivision, and then again while organizing a class reunion. All these are forgive-able in a movie where audiences anticipate two movie icons to be entertaining and uber thrilling. Robin and Sharon dutifully fulfilled everyone’s “kilig” expectations perfectly.
Their cheesy lines, their fateful yet cinematically forced meeting, and their saccharine sweet-nothings were miraculously elevated into adorable scenes that made adult audiences giddy and giggling like high school girls and boys.
Despite their evident ages, the dynamic of Sharon and Robin’s onscreen relationship is still alive, awake, and very enthusiastic. Their faces may have aged, but their hearts remain just as youthful, if not more so, than the characters of Julia and Joshua.
Sharon retains her wholesomeness in closed-mouth kissing scenes with Robin.
As with other successful Sharon Cuneta movies, Unexpectedly Yours similarly mines details from the Megastar’s life and public confessions. Whether this is an intentional business strategy or a tradition that, when stringently followed, inevitably produces a pattern of box-office hits, we may never know. But scenes that echo Sharon’s personal life give her character an aura of fragility that automatically draws audiences in.
Syrupy dialogue was balanced with authentic lines that show the emotional pain of real life family dynamics between mother and daughter, wife and husband, boyfriend and girlfriend.
Sharon’s fearlessness to make fun of herself, specifically her weight; her openness about her age and dispensability, elicits respectful admiration.
Also, Sharon’s comedic timing is sharp and on point, making the movie a lot more fun to watch.
The movie beats audiences’ head with Patty’s professional and personal shortcomings as due to her being menopausal, as if being menopausal were a disease.
Similarly cringe-worthy was the heartless dismissal of Patty from work. She was forced into early retirement because she had an emotional meltdown during a business meeting.
What saved Patty, fortunately or unfortunately, from these female compulsions was the presence of Cocoy. As if all Patty needed was a man to make her feel good again--a device that maybe harkens back to the old-school idea that a prince in shining armor is enough to save a hapless princess. Though the appealing presence of Robin Padilla made this awkward idea palatable, it still reeks of bad taste.
Unexpectedly Yours rests on the shoulders of Sharon Cuneta and Robin Padilla. They carried this movie from start to finish. They will make you feel good, regardless of one's age. Watch this movie from start to finish and expect to be entertained and feel “kilig” all over again.
Unexpectedly Yours is graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board.
Ed's Note: The 'PEP Review' section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.